Nothing says "Happy birthday!" like a cupcake decorated with a Nazi symbol. Oh... wait.
A Jewish teen in Paradise Valley, Arizona, hosted one tasteless guest at her 14th birthday party, according to the mother of the birthday girl who requested anonymity to protect her daughter's identity. One birthday partygoer decorated a cupcake with a chocolate swastika, and the incident gained attention after photo on Facebook started to circulate. (The Facebook post has since been taken down, but you can see a photo of the cupcakes below.)
While the swastika motif used to be a symbol of well-being for many religions, it later came to symbolize "Aryan identity" and German nationalism when the Nazis made it their symbol in 1920, according to the United States Holocaust Museum. The swastika is now a symbol of hate and anti-Semitism, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
"When you joke with symbols like the swastika, you begin to normalize them and make it very casual within our society," Carlos Galindo-Elvira, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Arizona, told 12 News.
"Just like when I was a teenager, teens today can be insensitive." - Jewish teen's mother
But there's a silver lining to the cupcake conundrum: The viral photo has sparked productive conversation, the mother said in an email to Mic. She sent an email to all the parents of the party guests, which included the following statement:
"I think this is a really good opportunity to speak with your girls about extremely hurtful actions such as this. [My daughter] is sobbing right now and calling your girls to apologize for this to happen. I am using this opportunity to talk to [my daughter] about standing up for oneself, for speaking out against behavior you find abhorrent, and for always being able to talk to ones parents (I didn't hear any confirmation about this until I pressed her after talking to the other girl's mom). If you would like to talk to me about this, I'm happy to speak with you over the phone or for coffee."
"All the parties involved apologized to my child," she said in an email to Mic. The incident reminded her that "just like when I was a teenager, teens today can be insensitive," she said. "The apology from the girl and her mother was genuine, she and my daughter have made things right with each other and with my family, and I hope a few other kids from this generation realize the hateful insignias from the past deserve to be left in the past."
November 30, 9:10 a.m.: This story has been updated.